Preschool on the Turnbull Government’s chopping block

Monday, 06 August 2018

On the first day of Early Learning Matters Week, it has finally been confirmed that this Government will be cutting their funding to the national preschools and kindy program.

The Liberals had signalled their intention in the May budget, which only provided funding for the program for next year.

Since being elected, the Government has made an art form of rolling over the program for a year at a time and has refused to provide a long term funding commitment and certainty to the program.

And now the Minister has confirmed what we all feared – the Government has no plans to renew the program.

The Government’s statements refers to ‘ironing out’ policy settings with the states and territories and points to misleading data in advance of the ending of the program in June 2020.

It is clear they intend to walk away from the 350,000 pre-schoolers who rely on this program and cut $440 million from the sector – a year after the next election is due.

Of all the cuts the Liberals have made in the last five years, this is surely one of the worst, and most cynical.

There is a mountain of research, data and literature which shows the positive educational, social, health and emotional benefits of a quality, universal preschool program.

Preschools are one of the public policy success stories of the last decade. Since the first agreement was signed by Labor in 2008, preschool enrolment has increased from 77 per cent to almost 93 per cent.

There is no doubt that access to four year old preschool gives our children the best head start for school and for life.
But this Government is an evidence free zone. They would rather take the funding and hand it over to the big banks.

The Liberals have an appalling record in early education:

  • They cut $20 million from the National Quality Agenda program in the May budget;
  • They have introduced a new child care subsidy system which leaves 1 in 4 families worse off; and
  • They now want to cut $440 million from the national preschools program.

This Minister has cut so much from Australia’s preschools, schools, universities and vocational education, you have to ask, what exactly is he Minister for Education of?

This is a shameful cut from an out of touch Government with the wrong priorities.

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